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The Behavioral Interview - What You Can Expect

The Behavioral Interview is increasingly used by companies for employment selection. Although it is a more demanding type of interview from the candidate's point of view, it should be welcomed by candidates as an opportunity to effectively demonstrate why they are suitable job candidates.

Why the Behavioral Interview Works

Have you ever heard an interviewer saying that they know straight away on meeting a candidate if they are suitable or not, that they go on "gut feel" when deciding on the right job applicant? Fortunately this sort of haphazard approach to job interviews is seen less and less as companies take a much more structured and systematic approach to selecting employees.

Organizations are under increasing pressure to achieve accuracy in predicting an applicant's job performance. The escalating costs of a hiring mistake (generally calculated at being about 50 percent of the position's annual remuneration) and the negative impact of the wrong person in the job on both existing employees and customers mean that employers need an effective selection process that accurately identifies the right person for the job.

The system used for selection also needs to be consistent to give every candidate a fair and equal opportunity of being selected for it to be considered legally defensible. Behavioral (sometimes referred to as Competency-Based) Interviews offer a solution to the problem of an accurate and equitable selection system. The fairness and accuracy of the Behavioral Interview is based on the fact that the candidate is providing real, factual information about their past behavior and how it relates to the present required job competencies.

The questions asked are designed to gain information on the candidate's ability in the competencies that have been identified as necessary for successful job performance. All information gathered during the Behavioral Interview is relevant to the position and company being interviewed for. All candidates are asked the same type of questions, the interview is standardized which makes it a fair selection process.

The Behavioral Interview Process

The job is profiled and competencies required for job performance identified. Examples of job competencies include attention to detail, leadership, teamwork, initiative and adaptability among many others.

Questions are prepared to elicit information on the candidate's previous experience as it relates to these competencies. The Behavioral Interview is based on the premise that past behavior predicts future behavior.

The candidate is asked to provide a specific example of when they previously displayed the desired competency.

The candidate then describes a previous situation or instance when they were required to demonstrate the competency, the actions they took and the outcome.

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